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chief of staff for president clinton -- "democrats must move on entitlements and a cliff deal. he said we're going to have to reduce the cost of entitlement programs. senator conrad, the chairman of the budget committee, said we need, we absolutely need to enact fundamental reform in our entitlement programs. he was warning that social security is -- quote -- "headed for insolvency" and senator durbin said ignoring entitlement reform is not a responsible approach. to be sure these programs last, and this is a good time to look at both revenue and spending and surely in a senate that works like the senate should work, we can find out how to do both of those things. my friend from wyoming just talked about the death tax, the estate tax. this is another area for all the reasons he mentioned that we need to look at doing something about this tax before it goes back to the taxable levels of ten years ago. there are two million family farms. our farms and ranches in the united states -- two million and 98% of them, almost 2 million, are owned by individuals, family partnerships and family co
president bush, president clinton, second president bush, now president obama. none of those other presidents were treated in the way this president is treated. it's something senate democrats have never done in a lame duck session, whether after a presidential or midterm election. in fact, the senate democrats allowed votes on 20 of president george w. bush's judicial nominees, including three circuit court nominees in the lame duck session after the election in 2002. i remember i was the chairman of the judiciary committee. i moved forward on those votes, including one very controversial circuit court nominee. the senate proceeded to confirm judicial nominees in lame duck sessions after the elections in 2004 and 2006. actually, in 2006, we confirmed another circuit court nominee. we proceeded to confirm 19 judicial nominees in lame duck sessions after the election of 2010, including five circuit court nominees. the reason i'm not listing confirmations for the lame duck session at the end of 2008 is because that year we proceeded to confirm the last ten judicial nominees approved
in northern mali at our peril. in fact, secretary clinton has recently said that mali has now become a powder keg of potential instability in the region and beyond. the top american military commander in africa, general carter hamm, said publicly just this week that al qaeda's operating terrorist training camps in northern mali and providing arms, explosives and financing to other terrorist groups in the region. so i believe it's critical that the united states have a strong and comprehensive policy to deal with this threat. i'm concerned that the current u.s. approach may not be forward leaning enough to address all three crises -- security, political and humanitarian -- in a coordinated, comprehensive and effective way at the same time. given the compelling u.s. interest in stability and security and good governance in mali, we must ensure we don't miss the bigger picture of what this situation means for the future of mali, to our allies, and to our security. the u.n. security council is now considering what they call a concept of operations for an african-led military operation. the u.s. c
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